The Opposition is slamming Housing New Zealand, saying it failed to address health and safety concerns at a family home in Mount Roskill for too long.
The Loun family, two parents and three kids, have been complaining to HNZ about rats, fleas, bugs, an unsafe bathroom and an unsuitable shower at the property for eight months.
The situation is made worse by the fact Sheraz Loun, father, is visually impaired and his condition is deteriorating by the day. He is also a diabetic.
The health and safety concerns in the house were so problematic it prompted a local doctor and the Blind Foundation to recommend the family be moved to another home.
But HNZ Regional Manager Taina Jones said it has been working with the family for "some time to ensure they have the housing they have been assessed as needing".
"Housing assessments are done by the Ministry of Social Development and our tenants have previously been advised of this and given help with that process, including actively advising their advocates such as the Blind Foundation."
But National MP Parmjeet Parmar, who is based in Mount Roskill, said it is not good enough that it has taken HNZ so long to respond to the situation.
She said it needs to address the health and safety issues at the Mt Roskill property as soon as possible.
The toilet floor had sunk into the ground, making it difficult for Sheraz to use, given his condition.
The shower is also problematic for him as it's inside a deep bathtub and he needs his wife's help to use it.
The family has also complained about bugs coming through a hole in the wall of the bathroom.
The hole has been plugged by toilet paper, while a piece of wood was placed to cover the bathroom floor.
Although Aisha, Sheraz's wife, said she had repeatedly asked HNZ to fix the problems, it wasn't until she approached Parmar in December that anything changed.
HNZ subsequently drilled a piece of wood into the floor of the bathroom, to cover the sunken ground to make it safer.
But Parmar's said the wooden board was only a temporary fix – "for me, HNZ has already failed this family".
Recently, Aisha became concerned after the family started to get rashes and she took one of her sons to the doctor. The rash, she thought, could have been because of the rats which had been seen around the property.
Dr Mukul Diesh, a doctor at the Mount Roskill Medical Centre, wrote a letter to HNZ, asking that the family's housing conditions be assessed.
He expressed his concern with the three-bedroom house's crowded conditions, as well as with the rats living under the property.
The family had also suffered "multiple flea bites", Diesh said.
Because of his condition, Sheraz suffers from frequent headaches and needs isolation when they occur.
Diesh recommended the family be moved to a bigger house with more bedrooms to help address this issue.
Aisha passed the letter on to HNZ, but said nothing changed.
Aisha said she also passed on multiple letters from the Blind Foundation – an organisation Sheraz is a member of – asking for the family to be moved into more appropriate accommodation.
"I have asked Housing New Zealand repeatedly to help us, to have the house repaired, and shown the note explaining why we need a larger home," Aisha said.
HNZ's Jones said she understands the tenant's health issues and would assist with any modifications needed to the current property, which was able to be modified.
"These would be determined by the appropriate health authorities and that information provided to HNZ for us to engage the relevant experts to carry out the work."
She said any changes to other housing requirements need to be "clearly conveyed" by the tenants to MSD.
"On the maintenance matters raised, these have been responded to as soon as they have been drawn to our attention and urgent events dealt with straightaway or other work prioritised accordingly. We'll continue to keep the family housed safely, warmly and dryly."